Turquoise Mines & Characteristics


Bisbee Turquoise

Bisbee Turquoise Cabochon
Bisbee Turquoise Cabochon

The Bisbee mine “the Lavender Pit”, near Bisbee, Arizona, is one of the more famous of the American mines because Bisbee turquoise was one of the first put onto the market. The Arizona turquoise mine is part of the Bisbee copper mine (The Copper Queen), the main operation of the site. Bisbee turquoise has developed a reputation as a hard, finely webbed or dendrite, high blue stone, known for its “chocolate brown” matrix. Bisbee Turquoise also comes in a beautiful dark green color. Most of this turquoise has already been mined and what is left is in limbo due to circumstances with the copper mining in the open pit, it is one of the most highly collected stones. Most jewelry being made with this stone today is being made through old “stashes” or collections that have been obtained. Bisbee Turquoise Jewelry is some of the most desired jewelry on the market.

Castle Dome – AKA Pinto Valley


Most of Arizona’s turquoise mines are actually large open pit copper mines that the turquoise deposits are leased from. Due to this fact, many are no longer producing due to the cost of insurance that the copper companies have to pay in order to let the mineral miners work in the mine. The company or person with the lease is called in to mine the turquoise when they hit a pocket of it as they are copper mining. This is a mine that was very active back in the 1970’s.

Gleeson or Courtland Turquoise


The Gleeson or Courtland mine was discovered in the 1890s. It was during the early 1900s that this prehistoric mining area began to boom with its production of turquoise, silver, gold, and copper. John Gleeson was one of the first documented miners to pursue these deposits, located on the south side of the Dragoon Mountains in Cochise County.

Ithaca Peak

Ithica Peak Turquoise
Ithica Peak Turquoise 

The Ithaca Peak Turquoise mine is located in northwestern Arizona above the Kingman mine. The Ithaca Peak mine is famous for its beautiful blue Turquoise with pyrite matrix. This material is outstanding and is considered one of the top Turquoise mines in the United States. The Ithaca Peak Turquoise mine is owned and operated by the Colbaugh’s of Kingman, Arizona USA. It is fairly rare to get good Ithaca Peak as main production is focused on Turquoise Mountain and Kingman Turquoise.

Kingman Turquoise

The Kingman Turquoise mine in northwestern Arizona was one of the largest turquoise mines in North America. The terms “Kingman” or “high blue” refer to the blue color usually displayed in this stone. It has become a color standard in the industry. The mine became famous for its rounded, bright blue nuggets with black matrix. Few turquoise mines produced nuggets, especially of this quality. Old natural Kingman Arizona Turquoise is rare. The Colbaugh’s own this mine, the Ithaca Peak Turquoise mine, and the Turquoise Mountain mine, their company name is Colbough Processing. They have recently gone back into the section of the Kingman mine and are digging and bringing out some new Natural Kingman Turquoise. This new natural Kingman Turquoise is super high grade and is very valuable! Most of the turquoise jewelry you see today features Kingman turquoise from Arizona, USA.

Morenci Turquoise

Morenci Cabochon with Pyrite 

Morenci Turquoise is mined in southeastern Arizona. The Morenci Turquoise mine produced some of the finest Turquoise that has ever come out of the ground! It is high to light blue in color. Some rare highgrade is a super dark blue naturally. Morenci has an unusual matrix of irregular black pyrite that, when polished, often looks like silver. Morenci turquoise is well known because it was one of the first American turquoises to come on the market. It is also very well known for its high grade. The Morenci Turquoise mine also produces turquoise with a wonderful “Birdseye” or “Water Web” matrix pattern. Some of the Turquoise has rare quarts matrix. It is very difficult to obtain now because the mine is depleted. Morenci is a very collectible turquoise.

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

High Grade Sleeping Beauty Turquoise 

The Sleeping Beauty mine was located near Globe, Arizona. Its turquoise is noted for its solid, light blue color with no matrix. Sleeping Beauty turquoise is the favorite of the Zuni Pueblo silversmiths for use in petit point, needlepoint, and inlay jewelry. This mine was one of the largest in North America and is now closed. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is one of the most popular Turquoise varieties world wide. Sleeping Beauty has a striking resemblance to the old high grade Persian Turquoise. In some countries, solid blue Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is of the highest value. Another staple of today turquoise jewelry industry. Most of the robin’s egg blue turquoise you see today is Sleeping Beauty turquoise.

Turquoise Mountain

A slice of Turquoise Mountain Turquoise
A slice of Turquoise Mountain Turquoise 

Turquoise Mountain and “Birdseye” turquoise come from the same mine in northwestern Arizona near the Kingman mine. The mine was suppossedly closed in the 1980s, however the Colbaughs still sell this Turquoise and seem to have an abundance of it. Today most of the Turquoise Mountain Turquoise that is on the market is stabilized. However, when it is natural it is a great deal more valuable. It is light to high blue, with both webbed and non-webbed matrix. “Birdseye” describes stones from this mine that show areas of light blue circled with dark blue matrix, resembling the eye of a bird.


Cripple Creek Colorado Turquoise Mine



The Cripple Creek mine in Teller County, Colorado is the site for a number of small gold mining claims. Cripple Creek Turquoise was originally found primarily as a by-product of gold mining, as were many of the Colorado Turquoise minining claims. There are several Turquoise claims in the Cripple Creek district such as the Elkhorn Claim, the Florence Turquoise Mine, the O’Haver Claim, the Roanoke Shaft, and the Hidden Treasure Turquoise Mine. One of the groups still mining the Turquoise claims are the Bad Boys of Cripple Creek. The areas that the Bad Boys are mining yield some greenish Turquoise, and some light to dark blue Turquoise with brown matrix. On a rare occassion, Turquoise is found in Cripple Creek that has natural Gold Ore in it. It has become a little more common to see Turquoise Jewelry with Cripple Creek Turquoise these days due to the Bad Boys efforts.


Manassa Colorado Turquoise Mine


Manassa Turquoise is mined out of Manassa, Colorado in south central Colorado. It is known for its blue-green to green color with a golden or brown, non-webbed matrix. The Manassa mine is still in production, and has been owned by the King family until 2010, thus the alternate name sometimes used for this Turquoise “Kings Manassa”. The Manassa mine used to be call the Lickskillet Turquoise Mine in the old days. Bill King was the last of King family to own the Manassa Turquoise mine. Bill is the last person to be known for finding the classic and highgrade deep forest green and gold matrix The mine is now owned by the Cordova family of Manassa, Colorado.

Villa Grove Turquoise Mine in Colorado


Villa Grove Turquoise was some of the finest Turquoise to ever come out of America, and really some of the best Turquoise ever to be mined. The Villa Grove Mine in Colorado is currently covered by a small mountain lake created by a diverted creek, therefore is not being mine currently, nor will it ever be mined again in the future. The BLM wants the lake to stay intact now. The Mine was last owned by George Musik. Before Musik the mine was owned by Menless Winfield. The Turquoise is a vivid deep blue color and is one of the fewTurquoise varieties we have seen with the highly coveted Bisbee Blue coloration or an absolutely stunning electric blue color. The difference between Villa Grove and Bisbee is the matrix coloration. Villa Grove has a gold or black matrix color rather then brownish red.Villa Grove can feature dendrites and fine spider web matrix. This stone is very rare these days, especially the high-grade.


Ajax Turquoise Mine


The small Ajax mine, located in south central Nevada, south or Reno. This mine is no longer in operation. The mine yields stones from light blue with darker blue veins to a predominant dark green with light blue areas. This latter coloration is considered quite unusual for Turquoise, and is highly desireable. The Ajax mine has gone through a few hands, but has remained the Ajax. If you were to visit the mine today, you probably wouldn’t find much activity. At one point the Ajax mine belonged to the Otteson’s who traded it to another miner for the Easter Blue mine near the Royston District. It is believed that the Otteson’s made the trade since the Easter Blue mine is closer to their ranch, it is also handy for them that the Easter Blue mine is close the Royston District. Speaking of the Royston mine, the Ajax and Royston mines produce material that is very close in color and character. Ajax is a wonderful Turquoise to adorn any jewelry with. Ajax is an American Turquoise classic that can be found in all types of silver jewelry including old pawn turquoise jewelry and gold jewelry.

Black Diamond Nevada Turquoise Mine

Black Diamond Turquoise Nevada
Black Diamond Turquoise Nevada


A Rare deep blue Turquoise producing mine in Nevada, Blue Diamond was mined mostly in the 60s and 70s. The Blue Diamond Turquoise mine is hard deposit to read and has several different diggings. It is dark blue with a black matrix of dendrites and triangle shaped black chert. Another common look of Blue Diamond Turquoise is dark blue with smoky black matrix. The blue a lot of times is a swirling of two dark blues,.. it is stunning This is a classic American Turquoise Look.

The Blue Gem Turquoise Mines

Blue Gem Turquoise from Nevada
Blue Gem Turquoise from Nevada


There were three different locations all called the Blue Gem mine, and each produced a great variety of turquoise, from intense blues to deep green combinations with a hard, irregularly distributed matrix. While there are other mines in Nevada of the same name, the Battle Mountain Blue Gem mine& the Tonapah Blue Gem Mine, which began production in 1934 and is now closed, yielded the most valuable Blue Gem turquoise because of its rich color and its hardness. It is greatly desired by collectors. One of our favorites! The Battle Mountain Turquoise is an all time favorite and classic American Turquoise and very hard to beat. Blue gem has been called by Gem collectors and scientists to be the perfect color of Turquoise.. better than Persian!

Blue Moon Turquoise Mine


The mine is in Esmerelda County in the Candelaria Hills, within a mile of the famous ‘Blue Boy’ Mine, north of Columbus Salt Flat and Coaldale Nevada. This mine is located amongst the Miss Moffet Mine, Blue Creek, Broken Arrow, and Blue Jay Nevada Turquoise Mines. This mine produces a light to medium Blue Turquoise, and the high-grade is a darker blue. It runs in a black chert or brown host rock. Much of this material is a light blue with black spiderwebbing that almost looks like the finer specimens of natural Chinese or Tibetan Turquoise. Today this mine is also producing some chaulk material that the owners are considering having stabilized for the production jewelry market. A great example of the diversity of American Turquoise. This mine is now owned by Dean and Donna Otteson of Tonopah, Nevada USA.

Broken Arrow Turquoise and Variscite Mines


The Broken Arrow Mine is located in the Candelaria Mining District of Nevada outside of Mina. The Broken Arrow claims belong to the Otteson’s. What has come out of the Broken Arrow thus far is a blue and emerald green spider web and clear Turquoise and Varascite, some call Variquoise. The emerald green variscite is absolutely stunning, it looks like forest green emerald or jade.

Candelaria Turquoise Mine

Candeleria Ribbon Turquoise from Central Nevada
Candeleria Ribbon Turquoise from Central Nevada 

The Candelaria mine(s) are claims located in the large Candelaria Open Pit Copper, Silver, and Gold Mine. The large ore company leases out the claims to a few mines infrequently. The finest turquoise is now located in a part of the mine so difficult, that it is almost unattainable. The turquoise is a good quality stone of high blue color with an intermittent black or brown, non-webbed matrix. The high-grade Candelaria is a translucent dark blue with a reddish brown spider web matrix. It is a hard, attractive stone. Candelaria also produces some of the most attractive Varascite, which comes in a wide spectrum of colors. Candelaria spider web varicite stone a mine with a rich history going back to the middle 1800s. This mine produces some of Nevada’s best and most unusual Variscite. This is a very hard stone, high silica content. This mine produces some of the most unusual and beautiful stone patterns, no two stones are ever alike. Candelaria Because it is not frequently available and the mine is closed it is considered collectible.

Carico Lake Turquoise Mine

High Grade Carico Lake Turquoise
High Grade Carico Lake Turquoise 

Carico Lake turquoise is named after the location of its mines on a dried up lake bed in a high, cool area of Lander County, Nevada. This famous old Turquoise mine produces mainly a light blue color Turquoise that sometimes has a light brown spiderweb matrix. The Carico Lake Turquoise mine also produce Turquoise with black matrix as well. The Carico Lake Turquoise mine is most famous for its Lime Green Faustite, which most people call Lime Turquoise. Its clear, iridescent, spring green color is due to its zinc content and is highly unique and collectible. Carico Lake turquoise is also found in a dark blue-green color with a black or brown, spider web matrix. The Mine has been open for sometime now. A fair amount of This turquoise has been recovered. The less common lime green turquoise which is suspect to actually be predominately faustite, is very very valuable due to it rarity and demand. It is hard material. This mine is also known to produce rare psuedomorph clams that are filled with turquoise. As of late this mine has been owned and operated by Ernie Montoya of Sun west Silver. Ernie has used this turquoise to create some wonderful gold and silver jewelry. This has really added to the turquoise jewelry market’s diversity.

Cortez A.KA. Fox Turquoise Mine


Cortez or Fox is on of Nevada’s most productive turquoise mines. In the 1940’s, Dowell Ward purchased the old Cortez claims and developed them using the names Fox, White Horse, Green Tree and Smith to differentiate among the colors produced in the area and to create a larger perceived share of the turquoise market. The area produces a huge amount of good quality blue, green or blue-green stone with a distinctive matrix.  Much of the Fox Turquoise was cut into nugget beads in the old days. Today it is hard to obtain good old Fox Turquoise and they also produce a stabilized form of Fox Turquoise today.


Cerrillos Turquoise Mines


Cerrillos is not only an uncommon and unique form of native New Mexican turquoise, but has a history entwined with both ancient Native peoples of the Southwest and more recent American mining companies. Cerrillos turquoise was created and mined under unusual circumstances. It is the only turquoise that formed at the base of a volcano. Thus, a variety of colors developed from the minerals in the various volcanic host stones. In fact, the Cerrillos New Mexico Turquoise mines produce seventy-five colors, from tan to khaki-green to rich, blue-green to bright and light colors. Cerrillos is a very hard stone and so takes a brilliant polish.In addition to producing a distinctive stone, the Cerrillos mine is the oldest mine of any kind in North America. Located ten miles south of Santa Fe, it was the site of the largest prehistoric mining activity on the continent because the huge turquoise deposit was partially exposed at the surface. Miners from the San Marcos Pueblo, who later moved to Santo Domingo Pueblo south of Santa Fe, most heavily worked the mine. Using only stone axes, mauls, antler picks, and chisels, Pueblo miners removed 100,000 tons of solid rock to create a pit mine 200 feet deep. They dug other vertical shafts into the ground to reach veins of turquoise. Miners carried tools and leather rock buckets on their backs as they climbed in and out of the shafts using notched logs as ladders. The turquoise obtained from this hard work traded among early peoples from Mexico to the Midwest and from the east to west coasts. In New Mexico, many pieces of Cerrillos turquoise for personal and trade use have been unearthed in the prehistoric ruins of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon. The Pueblo peoples continued to extract turquoise from the Cerrillos mine until the 1870’s when a silver mining boom raised interest in the area. The Tiffany Company in New York and its associates bought up the mine area and extracted $2,000,000 worth of turquoise between 1892 and 1899.

Enchantment Mines


The mine discovered in 1996, by a gold miner while prospecting, is named the Lost Mine of Enchantment. It is located in a mining district near the town of Ruidoso in the Sacramento Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. It is the first new mine discovered in New Mexico since the days of Coronado in the 1500’s. Enchantment turquoise is a high quality turquoise that often shows a deep green color with tan or golden brown matrix, but can range to a deep, rich blue. The green is influenced by the iron content in the stone, the blue by the copper content. This stone makes wonderful Turquoise Jewelry. Enchantment Turquoise is one of the harder New Mexico Turquoise mines to get turquoise from. This stone is mostly seen in Navajo Jewelry, but sometimes in Zuni Indian Jewelry, Hopi Native American Jewelry and Santo Domingo beads.

Hachita Turquoise Mine


The Hachita turquoise mining activity dates from pre-historic to 1905. Like Tyrone turquoise, Hachita was also called “Azure”, but also went by many other names. It is located in New Mexico. You will find a bit of Hachita in Turquoise Jewelry today and vintage turquoise jewelry. Hachita is one of the harder New Mexico Turquoise Mines to get turquoise from.


Tyrone Mine New Mexico


Turquoise from the Tyrone mine was associated with the copper mine operations southwest of Silver City, New Mexico. That mine is currently owned by Phelps Dodge. However, turquoise has not been retrieved from that mining operation since the early 1980’s when Phelps Dodge changed its method of copper ore processing to crushing and acid wash. That method destroys any turquoise in the copper ore.
The Tyrone turquoise in new turquoise jewelry is from private stashes. It is medium brilliant blue in its high grade form. Tyrone turquoise is part of the mineral band that starts east of Silver City and curves around through Arizona and the Morenci turquoise mine area into Mexico.

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